Asus just released their new flagship devices, the Zenfone 5 and 5Z, and were kind enough to give me a little time with the devices before they were released so I figured I’d try and do one of my complete walkthroughs with them. If you aren’t familiar a complete walkthrough is where I try and go through as many features as possible with a device so you can be as informed as possible on what it can and cannot do and ultimately (hopefully) make a better decision when it comes to buying one or not down the road).
So with that out of the way, let’s get started.
First, we need to just say that the Zenfone 5 and the 5Z are basically identical in terms of features, looks, etc. The only different apparently is that the Z model will come with a different Qualcomm chipset and higher RAM and storage options.
For the design, they are both made out of an aluminum body and come in a midnight blue or meteor silver.
One of the first things you’ll notice about the device, is, of course, the infamous notch. Asus explained they went with the notch design simply because it meant more real estate for the screen in the two corners next to it instead of just cutting it off there.
The front though does have a pretty large 6.2″ FHD+ IPS LCD display in a 19:9 aspect ratio. Asus says it’ll hit 500 nits and from the short time I had with it, I have to admit, it’s pretty darn bright.
Above the screen, in the notch, we have an 83 degrees FOW 8MP f2.0 aperture camera for selfies.
At the top of the device, we have nothing.
On the left side, we have our dual SIM/MicroSD card slot combo.
On the right, we have our volume rocker and power button.
And at the bottom, we have our USB-C port that supports fast charging and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
Moving to the back, we have our center positioned fingerprint scanner (which, by the way, you can supplement with a facial unlock feature, as well) and above that, we have our dual cameras.
The main one is a 12MP Sony dual-pixel sensor with an f1.8 aperture lens and an 83 degrees FOW with OIS and our other is a 120 degree FOW wide angle 8MP f2.2 aperture camera.
Diving into the camera software itself, we have AI auto-scene detection built in that will recognize 16 different scenes and automatically adjust the camera settings to try and take the best shot of that particular scene.
We some settings on the left that include a flash control, a timer, portrait mode that blurs out the background using the two different cameras on the back to judge depth, changing of the aspect ratio of the photo, and a control to turn HDR off and on.
On the other side, we have access to our Pro mode which lets you control all of the camera settings manually.
Tapping on the setting icon in the camera gives us access to things like the resolution; timestamp; an Asus watermark (not sure why you would ever want to turn that on but sure); touch shutter, which allows you to tap the screen to take a photo instead of the shutter button; change the video resolution; turn on grids to better line up shots; camera sound off and on (again, why would you ever want that on); location services, to add or remove location data to the photo; anti-flicker; setting the volume key as a shortcut for various options; where you want to save the photos to if you have a MicroSD card installed; and double tapping the power button to launch the camera (my preferred method of launching a camera on any Android device frankly.
Moving on to audio, the device has dual stereo speakers each with their own amp and they definitely get pretty loud.
The Zenfone 5 and 5Z also support Hi-Res audio and DTS headphone 7.1 surround sound and the devices have Bluetooth 5.0 and I was told they support Qualcomm AptX HD (which means they can do Hi-Res audio over Bluetooth, as well, to a supported headset).
Power the devices is either a Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 chipset paired with up to 6GBs of LPDDR4X RAM on the 5 or the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chipset paired with up to 8GBs of LPDDR4X RAM on the 5Z.
You can get the 5 in 64GBs of storage or the 5Z in 64, 128 or 256GB but these storage sizes and RAM are subject to change by market.
Powering both of them is a 3300mah battery with fast charging support.
Moving on to the software, the phone is running Android Oreo and the much more subdued ZenUI 5.0.
Asus was also pretty good about pre-installed apps saying that they made sure not to make any redundant apps on the device–if Google or Android had it already, i.e. Chrome, the Gboard keyboard, etc. they used that and didn’t make their own version which I appreciate.
With that said though, they have their own skinned calculator; clock; contacts; sound recorder; weather; their version of Dropbox: Webstorage; a file manager; photo gallery; Mobile Manager, which is their memory, data, and storage assistant; themes, their own theme store obviously, and Selfie master.
Selfie master has a bunch of options for adjusting your face on camera including a video mode with real-time beautification (if you’re into that sort of thing), a camera mode for the same thing but for stills, and a live mode which can do the same but for various social media live services.
Also, in here is the Asus Zenimojis which weren’t working at the time of the demo but basically use facial tracking to put various characters over your face that you can then record and send to friends, but can also use in video calls, and use on live social media sites.
Speaking of social media sites, the only third-party apps Asus added to the device are Facebook and Instagram, which I would at least out on myself so not too bad.
And there we go, as many features as I could go through in the short time I had with the device. Let me know what you think and follow me on social for more tech!